A cortex-like canonical circuit in the avian forebrain

  title={A cortex-like canonical circuit in the avian forebrain},
  author={Martin Stacho and Christina Herold and Noemi Rook and Hermann Wagner and Markus Axer and Katrin Amunts and Onur G{\"u}nt{\"u}rk{\"u}n},
Basic principles of bird and mammal brains Mammals can be very smart. They also have a brain with a cortex. It has thus often been assumed that the advanced cognitive skills of mammals are closely related to the evolution of the cerebral cortex. However, birds can also be very smart, and several bird species show amazing cognitive abilities. Although birds lack a cerebral cortex, they do have pallium, and this is considered to be analogous, if not homologous, to the cerebral cortex. An… 

Birds do have a brain cortex—and think

On page 1626 of this issue, Nieder et al. show that the bird pallium has neurons that represent what it perceives—a hallmark of consciousness.

Anatomical organization of forebrain circuits in the primate.

This work integrates four principles of connectivity in the primate forebrain into a single model, assuming that the ancestral vertebrate pallium was dominated by medial, hippocampal and ventral-lateral, pyriform areas, and at most a small dorsal pallium.

Consciousness without cortex

  • A. Nieder
  • Biology, Psychology
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology
  • 2021

Organizational Conservation and Flexibility in the Evolution of Birdsong and Avian Motor Control

Recent efforts to understand the evolutionary relationships between birdsong control circuitry and mammalian neocortical circuitry are described using new approaches to measure gene expression in single cells to present an emerging view that amniote pallium evolution is a story of diverse neural circuit architectures employing conserved neuronal elements within a conserved topological framework.

Number neurons in the nidopallium of young domestic chicks

The finding of number neurons in the caudal nidopallium of very young, numerically naïve domestic chicks suggests that numerosity perception is possibly an inborn feature of the vertebrate brain.

Cellular transcriptomics reveals evolutionary identities of songbird vocal circuits

Single-cell sequencing was used to identify and characterize the major classes of neurons that comprise the song-control system in birds and found multiple previously unknown neural classes in the bird telencephalon and shed new light on the nature of homology between avian and mammalian brains.

The avian brain

Visual categories and concepts in the avian brain.

A mechanistic view of the neural principles of avian visual categorization and its putative extension to concept learning is presented, and how asymmetries of the visual system contribute to categorization is outlined.



Coding principles of the canonical cortical microcircuit in the avian brain

The results suggest that the canonical cortical microcircuit evolved in a common ancestor of mammals and birds and provide a physiological explanation for the evolution of neural processes that give rise to complex behavior in the absence of cortical lamination.

Organization and evolution of the avian forebrain.

The modern view of avian forebrain organization recognizes that the avian basal ganglia occupies no more of the telencephalon than is typically the case in mammals, and that it plays a role in motor control and motor learning as in mammals.

Large-scale network organization in the avian forebrain: a connectivity matrix and theoretical analysis

Using graph theory, the first large-scale “wiring diagram” for the forebrain of a bird is presented and it is shown that the pigeon telencephalon is organized along similar lines to that of a mammal.

Vertebrate brains and evolutionary connectomics: on the origins of the mammalian ‘neocortex’

  • H. Karten
  • Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2015
Analysis of the nuclear organization of the avian brain, its connections, molecular properties and physiology, and organization of its pattern of circuitry and function relative to that of mammals, collectively referred to as ‘evolutionary connectomics’, revealed that only a restricted portion of the BVR is homologous to the basal ganglia of mammals.

Laminar and columnar auditory cortex in avian brain

Findings indicate that laminar and columnar properties of the neocortex are not unique to mammals and may have evolved from cells and circuits found in more ancient vertebrates, which introduces a previously underutilized level of analysis to components involved in higher cognitive functions.

Cognition without Cortex

A blueprint of mammalian cortical connectomes

A blueprint of mammalian connectomes is sketched out consisting of species-specific and species-general links between the connectional, physical, and cytological dimensions of the cerebral cortex, possibly reflecting variations and persistence of evolutionarily conserved mechanisms and cellular phenomena.